BENGALURU, 12 JULY 2022
The Internet and smartphones have taken a clean sweep of personal life when it comes to preserving the sweet memories of the precious moments of our life. In this digital era, one has hardly any time to resort to the older methods of preserving memories through physically printed photo album, collecting and preserving relics safely etc. to show it to the future generation because one finds it easy and less time consuming as it involves very less effort to in preserving and its easy accessibility at a later date also makes it tempting for the people to quickly resort to digital memories. Nevertheless, South Western Railway in its own interest to value and preserve heritage structures, took up the task of restoring and reviving Century old Heritage Railway Stations in its jurisdiction retaining their heritage look and value, in collaboration with Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage(INTACH), a non-profit trust This is the FIRST such effort by SWR, towards conservation of heritage structures through CSR and NGO collaboration
In this regard, a Memorandum of Understanding was executed on 25 February last year between the Bengaluru Chapter of INTACH and Additional Divisional Railway Manager of Bengaluru Division on behalf of the President of India, for the renovation, restoration and preservation of Heritage station buildings of Doddajala, Devanahalli, Avathihalli and Nandi Halt in Bengaluru Division. The restoration process of these Heritage Station buildings is carried out by INTACH under the able guidance of P.K. Mishra, Additional General Manager, South Western Railway, an Expert in Restoration of Heritage Structures.
Talking to The Travel And Tourism Times, P.K.Mishra, additional general manager of South West Railways has informed that this is the first ever corporate social responsibility (CSR) funded heritage restoration initiative in SWR.
Doddajala station falls on the Bengaluru – Chikballapur railway line. On behalf of Mysore State railway, Bengaluru – Chikballapur Light Railway Company built the Bengaluru – Chikballapur railway line during 1909. And this line started functioning for passenger and freight transport during 1915. The century old station building of Doddajala station was renovated and restored along with those of Devanahalli, Avathihalli and Nandi Halt station buildings.
With a view to document the structural and cultural heritage of these century old stations and also maintain records of unprotected buildings of archeological, architectural, historical and aesthetic significance, this project was initiated by South Western Railway and is being executed by INTACH under the supervision of subject matter experts from both the organizations. The project aims at protecting and conserving our existing natural heritage structures by undertaking suitable measures and necessary actions to successfully execute the same. The main objective of this restoration task is to instill a sense of social responsibility among one and all towards preserving our common heritage.
It is being carried out with due diligence with an intention to provide expertise in the field of conservation, restoration and preservation of our heritage and also foster collaborations and Memoranda of Understanding and partnerships with Government and other national and international agencies working and involved in this field.
Doddajala station entrance BEFORE Restoration Doddajala station entrance AFTER Restoration
View of the interior Main Room BEFORE Restoration View of the interior Main Room AFTER Restoration
Ticketing Window BEFORE Restoration Ticketing Window AFTER Restoration
The main objective of the project is to showcase the Railway Cultural and Monumental Heritages of these stations along with promoting/ showcasing the cultural , economic and heritage value of the local area and develop avenues to create awareness about the local heritage sites around these stations. Emphasis is also laid on developing/promoting basic infrastructure in and around the 4 heritage station sites and also promote sustainable use of these 4 station buildings to ensure proper operations and maintenance therein. Extra Care is taken to develop/provide facilities and amenities for a delightful visitor experience at these stations in connection with the heritage station sites.
SWR has entrusted the project to INTACH to restore, renovate and preserve these century old station buildings in such a way that they are self- sustaining. INTACH has undertaken the preservation and restoration project of these heritage stations with the support of CSR partners who fund the project. The objective of sustainable maintenance is to develop Heritage Art and traditional Culture at these century old Railway stations in consultation with South Western Railway.
Salient features of the project along with restoration work:
Art cum Cultural cum Convention Centre at Doddajala Railway Station along with its restoration
Interpretation Centre for Monuments and History, A café/ snacks counter for the visitor at Devanahalli Station
Silk Museum and Resource Centre along with a park with beautiful landscaping and also tree plantation towards conserving environment at Avathihalli Station
Rail Museum, Cafeteria/ Restaurant, space for Cultural Performance, pop-up weekend crafts market, Interpretation Centre, open air theatre and Amphitheatre at Nand Halt Station
Souvenir shops for promoting local arts and crafts at all the four stations
Visitor’s Facilitation and Interpretation Centre
An art and cultural festival for the city conducted once in every one/two year involving all the four stations as venues.
This restoration work could get underway only due to the earnest passion and sincere efforts of senior officers of SWR who are very keenly passionate about the history of SWR. This passion is possible only if one is keen about history and has true knowledge of it. In this era of advanced technology and modern concrete architectural designs,
these century old buildings are being renovated and restored with utmost passion, duly preserving their heritage value to show case them not just for the present generation but also present them as monuments reflecting the glorious history of Indian railways for the generations to come.